Authentic Mexican dishes at Lina's
by Mark Ledbetter
Anyone wanting a taste of “Ol’ Mexico” can find traditional, authentic, Mexican dishes at Lina’s Store and Kitchen in Oak Grove.

Found on the menu are many dishes American palets are typically use to, items such as burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and fajitas and made with favorites such as pollo (chicken), bistec (steak), and al pastor (marinated pork).

For those looking for Mexican dishes they may have had back home in Mexico, southern California, and Texas, the menu includes tacos made with lengua (cow tongue) and cabeza (cow cheek), and on weekends Caldo de Camaron (shrimp soup) and Mexican style Mondongo (cow stomach) soup.

A favorite is Enchiladas de Mole, an enchilada filled with steak or chicken, a variety of spices, bananas, and covered with a sauce with a hint of chocolate and sprinkled with ground cookie.

Mama and Chef Lina Rojas said through her interpreter Yomira Bravo that she loves to cook and “I want people to know what real Mexican food is like.”

Son Alfredo Romero-Rojas said they have had several patrons originally from Mexico, Texans and southern California who said the food reminds them of home.

And if a more traditional American meal is wanted, ask for an American hamburger.

“The kitchen is mama’s dream,” Alfredo said.

While the family helps run the family owned and operated store and kitchen in Oak Grove, father Jiamey operates the original Lina’s Store in Alexander City. Alfredo said the Alexander City store is larger than the Oak Grove store but doesn’t include a kitchen.

Alfredo said when he is helping in the kitchen or remains in Alexander City to help his father, brother Armando is there to run the store, while his wife Patricia and niece Yomira help in the Kitchen.

Anyone wanting to use their own Mexican recipes but doesn’t have access to Mexican ingredients can shop at the store next to the Kitchen.

There they will find a variety of spices and peppers, including cascabel, chipotle, habanero, passilla, and guagillos. Several types of flours are available.

The shelves are lined with a variety of common food and beverages with brand names familiar with Hispanics. Some resemble products Americans are familiar with but along with their Mexican name they have a distinctive Mexican flavor including cookies, coffee, candy, tortilla flour, and ice cream.

Alfredo said most of the food and beverage products are flavored with natural flavoring such as cane sugar and other spices and peppers.

If the customer wants a specific item they don’t carry, they are willing to try to get it, even special items from Guatemala and other Latin American countries.

And while there are many food and ingredients familiar with Latinos, Alfredo says he likes to try to help the community by purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables from local growers.

Shoppers can find other products including locally made piÒatas that can be custom made to order, Mexican football (soccer) shoes and jerseys, and for news back home there is “Lider News.”

Alfredo said “Lider News” provides news from Mexico as well as Alabama. It includes ads and postings that cater to Hispanic culture and needs and are important to Latinos Alfredo said.

Alfredo said that although the Hispanic population had dwindled in recent years he is seeing a slow rebuilding of Hispanic families in the Oak Grove area.

Alfredo said the store has been open for 2 months and is open Monday thru Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday thru Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Lina’s Mexican Store and Kitchen is located at 3686 Old Birmingham Highway in Oak Grove and is next to Redzone Express.

For information call Alfredo, Patricia, or Armando at 256-369-2990.

Contact Mark Ledbetter at mledbetter@dailyhome.com
© 2013